Discovery and Innovation

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Factors Affecting Agroforestry Sustainability in Bee Endemic Parts of South Eastern Nigeria.

U Richard, AE Agwu


This paper attempts, in an exploratory manner, to identify the various ways in which bad beekeeping and honey hunting practices result in the loss of important multi-purpose agro-forestry tree species in bee endemic parts of South Eastern Nigeria. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches (Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Community Fora, Focus Group Discussions, Key Informant Interviews and Semi-structured interview schedules) were used in an interactive manner to collect data for this study from five randomly selected communities in Nsukka, Igbo-Etiti, Uzo-Uwani, Igbo-Eze South and Udenu Local Government Areas of Enugu State. Results show that beekeeping/honey hunting in the area are traditionally gender-specific occupations, involving only male members of the households, while female members play active role in the processing, preservation and marketing of products. Majority (69.6%) of the beekeepers/honey hunters
were within the age range of 31 Ð 50 years and most (75.2%) of them had less than secondary school education. Findings reveal that outright felling of some trees in order to permit the extraction of honey, cutting tree trunks open and/or cutting down tree branches and setting surrounding bush on fire are among the major factors impacting negatively on the agroforestry of the area. However, species of trees particularly at risk include Irvingia gabonensis, young Chlorophera excelsa, Raphia spp., Elaeis guineensis, Brachystegia eurycome, Dialium guineense, Erythrophleum guineese and Strychnos spinosa. Recommendations are proffered towards improving harvesting practices for hive and other non-timber forest products in order to avert the erosion of natural resource-base of the fragile farming ecosystem of the area.

Keywords: agroforestry, beekeeping, honey hunting, environmental sustainability.

Discovery and Innovation Vol. 19 (1) 2007: pp. 23-32

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